10% more people presented in sexual assault treatment units last year

10% more people presented in sexual assault treatment units last year

Almost 1,000 people were treated in Ireland's sexual-assault treatment units last year.

This is an increase of almost 10% on 2017.

20 children under the age of 14 were treated after sexual assaults last year.

There are six sexual-assault treatment units in Ireland, where people present after an attack.

They are located in hospitals in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Letterkenny, Mullingar and Waterford.

In 2017, there were 865 presentations at the six units, but this rose to 941 last year, according to details released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The biggest increase of 17% was in Mullingar Regional Hospital, where 203 sex-assault victims were treated in 2018.

Noeline Blackwell, the chief executive of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, is not surprised by the increase across the country.

"People are more ready to recognise that these are units which are specifically dedicated to dealing with victims of sexual assault," she said.

"You don't have to be referred there by the gardaí, people don't even have to have an examination for court purposes there if they don't want to but they certainly will get the medical help that they need and a recognition of the trauma of the sexual assault as well."

94% of people treated in Ireland's six units last year were women, with 6% being men.


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